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Pittsburgh vs. St. Louis, 13 September 2005

Ian Snell (0-2, 6.84) vs. Chris Carpenter (21-4, 2.21). Ian Snell returns from Indianapolis, where he again pitched well. The Pirates will use the rest of the season to decide whether to use Snell as a starter or a reliever. That's not a bad idea, and it's almost the right one. The right one would be to use this time to decide whether Snell will be a starter for the Pirates or with someone else. Mark Redman was injured in last night's game, which makes it a lock that he'll accept his $4.5 million option next year, unless he or his agent experiences a bout of temporary insanity. Oliver Perez, Kip Wells, Dave Williams, Zach Duke and Paul Maholm should also contend for rotation spots next year, with Snell and Bryan Bullington also in the running and Tom Gorzelanny, Sean Burnett and John VanBenschoten coming on strong behind them.

Snell can be a good starter in the majors, and it would take some very bad performances over the next two weeks to convince me otherwise. There is no reason to waste him as a reliever. The Pirates have a wealth of starting pitching options next year, and any of them (except Redman, whose ship sailed in June or so) could claim good value on the trade market. While they're watching Snell these next few weeks, the Pirates should be trying to decide whether to move him or keep him.